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Brownout vs Blackout: What's the Difference & How to Prepare

Brownout vs Blackout What's the Difference & How to Prepare

Short on Time? Here’s The Article Summary

The article discusses the differences between brownouts and blackouts and provides tips for preparing for these events. It emphasizes the importance of being ready for power outages, especially in today's society where so much depends on electricity. It covers the causes of brownouts and blackouts, how long they typically last, and what you should unplug during a brownout.

The article also recommends some emergency preparedness materials, such as flashlights, first aid kits, and communication devices. Additionally, it suggests using solar generators as a clean and reliable backup power source, highlighting three top options available on Shop Solar Kits.


When the power goes out, it is easiest to stay calm knowing that you are prepared. While most of us have experienced a brownout or blackout at some point in our life, knowing the difference between a brownout vs blackout, and having the right equipment for either scenario is vital to your safety. 

This is especially true today, when so much of our lives depend on having continued access to electricity for work, food, security, or medical reasons. 

Here at Shop Solar Kits, we’ve pieced together this comprehensive list of questions and answers so you can be ready for the unexpected. 

In this article, we will cover the key differences between a brownout vs a blackout and recommend some of the best equipment to be prepared for either scenario. 

Shop Our Best-Selling Emergency Backup Solar Kits TODAY!

What is a Blackout?

A blackout is the complete loss of power to your home or general area. When talking about a brownout vs blackout, blackouts are potentially more serious. 


This means that during a blackout, you will not be able to run any electricity-dependent devices or appliances including refrigerators, electric stoves, lights, electronics, internet routers etc. 


During a blackout you will also not be able to recharge any portable electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, or laptops. 

What causes a blackout?

The most common cause of blackouts is damage to transformers and power lines, or power plant failures. These are often due to natural causes such as severe weather, high winds, or lightning. 

Damage to power lines and electrical equipment leading to a blackout can also be caused by human error and even excessive power demands.  

How long do blackouts usually last?

A majority of blackouts are brief, lasting only a few minutes to a couple hours. Yet, in more serious cases, you could  be without power for days or even weeks at a time. It is during these times that investing in a solar generator kit and EMP shield can keep your life uninterrupted, saving you tremendous amounts of stress.  

What is a Brownout?

A brownout is the partial or temporary reduction of power. 

Sometimes brownouts can be intentional, used as a way for electric companies to reduce the overall energy output. 

During a brownout your lights will dim due to reduced power and certain appliances and devices may not be able to function. When differentiating between brownouts vs blackout, brownouts have the potential to damage your appliances if they are not unplugged. 

What causes a brownout?

While there can be multiple causes for brownouts and blackouts, brownouts are most commonly caused due to a demand for electricity that exceeds the production limit. 

In order to prevent a total blackout, electric companies will occasionally reduce the voltage output to your home. Unintentional brownouts can occur when there has been damage to electrical equipment. 

How common are brownouts?

Brownouts normally occur when energy consumption reaches its peak. This is common during summer or winter months when the energy needs for appliances like air conditioners and heaters are high. 

In the case of brownouts vs blackouts, both can lead to troublesome situations. Those who work from home may find it difficult dealing with brownouts and blackouts, seeing as internet service and computer function will be affected.  

What should I unplug during a brownout? 

The change in voltage can be harmful to certain electronics. Computers, T.V.s, phone chargers, microwaves, and other similar devices should be unplugged to avoid damage. 

Some devices may be equipped with a brownout reset circuit (BOR), which causes them to reboot when the power supply is too low. 

Power strips with surge protectors can help to reduce the risk associated with brownouts. However, having a renewable backup generator with a UPS function (uninterrupted power supply) is the best way to avoid any possible brownout or blackout issues. 

What are the key differences between a brownout vs a blackout?

The main differences between a brownout vs a blackout is the total energy loss associated with each situation. A blackout means you will be without any power for an undetermined amount of time, while a brownout means there will be power reduction. 

Another key difference between brownouts vs blackouts is their potential to damage appliances. Blackouts actually pose less of a threat since electricity is cut off entirely. 

As mentioned in the previous section, some electronics are not equipped to handle the drop in electricity and can malfunction during brownouts. 

How to Prepare for a Brownout vs Blackout

Taking the necessary steps to prepare for a brownout vs blackout will help you feel secure and confident when you find yourself without power for an extended time. 


Having the essential emergency items, being able to communicate with others, and installing a safe reliable solar generator system are ways to prevent major problems. 

Emergency Preparedness Materials For a Brownout vs Blackout

When it comes to a brownout vs blackout you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary emergency items. Let’s take a look at some of the most useful emergency materials when dealing with the loss of power. 

  • Flashlights with spare batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Two-way radios and battery powered radio
  • Extra drinking water
  • Supply of Non-perishable food 
  • Matches or lighters 
  • Portable chargers 
  • Emergency blankets 
  • Hygiene products

Communication Devices For a Brownout vs Blackout

Cell phones may still work during brownouts or blackouts, but without a reliable way to recharge them, their usable time may be limited. It is important to have a backup crank or battery powered radio so you can be aware of any updates or instructions regarding your situation. 

Battery powered two-way radios are another reliable way to communicate with others during emergency blackout or brownout scenarios. 


During a brownout or blackout you might be faced with some unexpected downtime. Reading, playing cards, or playing board games can be great forms of entertainment, and can help pass the time. 

However, by choosing to prepare for these situations by setting up a renewable solar energy generator, you’ll still be able to use your computer, tv, and other electronics without delay. 

Top 3 Brownout & Blackout Backup Solar Generator Options:

Now that you’re more familiar with the problems brownouts vs blackouts can cause, let’s talk about some practical solutions. Solar powered generators offer a clean, renewable, long-lasting, and portable backup option that can be used at home or in vans and RVs. 

Shop Solar Kits provides several options that are guaranteed to fit within a range of energy consumption needs. Feel free to browse our collection of emergency power supplies, from the basics to mid range options up to some of the most powerful solar generators available today. 

#1. The EcoFlow Delta 1800 Quad Kit - $1,799

Beyond Bluetti, the EcoFlow Delta is one of the most popular solar generators for portable power during any electricity outage. 

The EcoFlow Delta 1800W / 1300wH Quad Kit is one of the best selling solar generator kits of all time.  With thousands of units sold already, it has not disappointed, earning fantastic reviews all around. 

What's Included with this kit? 

  • 1 x EcoFlow Delta 1800W / 1300wH Solar Generator
  • 4 x 100W Rigid Solar Panels (12V Monocrystalline)
  • 1 x XT60 to MC4 Solar Panel Cable (11 ft. long cable)
  • 1 x 30 ft MC4 PV Extension Cable for solar panels
  • 1 x Pair of MC4 Branch Connectors
  • 1 x AC Standard Wall Charger
  • 1 x Carrying Case
  • 1 x Car Charger -12V to XT60 cable
  • 1 x Free 10,000 Word Solar Generator Setup & Maintenance Guide
  • 2-Year Manufacturers Warranty
  • Lowest Price Guarantee
  • Lifetime Customer Support (Phone, Email or Live Chat)
  • FREE Shipping & NO Sales Tax!

The EcoFlow Delta Quad Kit comes with everything you need for portable power, quiet power including the Delta 1800 solar generator and four, 100 watt rigid solar panels that will fully recharge the delta from the sun in 3-4 hours. Making it the perfect blackout or brownout emergency power solution.  

#2. Bluetti EB240 Quad Kit - $2,349

An all inclusive off-grid power system, such as the EB240 quad kit, provides you everything you need to get your solar powered generator ready for the next blackout or brownout. With the ability to safely and quietly power your refrigerator, TV, lighting, computers, medical equipment, and whatever else you need, you won’t have to worry about a thing. The best part is they don’t require any fuel other than free energy from the sun.

What's Included With this Kit?

  • 1 x Bluetti EB240 2,400wH Solar Generator
  • 4 x Compatible 100 Watt Rigid Solar Panels (3 ft. 10 inches tall by 1.5 ft wide)
  • 1 x 30 ft 10 Gauge Solar Panel extension cable (For your panels)
  • 1 x 5 ft MC4 Solar Panel Connector Cable
  • 1 x MC4 Solar Panel Branch Connector for connecting your solar panels
  • 1 x AC wall charger for charging from the wall
  • 1 x 2-Year Warranty Certificate for the Generator + 5 Year Warranty on Panels
  • 1 x 10,000 Word Solar Generator Setup & Maintenance Guide
  • Fast, Free Shipping & No Sales Tax
  • Free Lifetime Customer Support (Phone, Email & Live Chat) 

#3. Bluetti AC200 [Hex Kit] - $1,999

If you’ve already got some solar panels, then you are free to choose any solar generator that can meet the demands of your power. If you’d like something a little smaller than the EB240, Bluetti also manufactures the Bluetti AC200, which is a slightly smaller, but highly capable device. 

Brownout vs Blackout: Conclusion 

Ultimately, we wanted to cover the basics of brownouts vs blackouts, so that our customers can be more prepared for these types of events. While these events normally occur unexpectedly, this doesn’t mean you have to be caught unprepared. 

By investing in a solar powered generator, and stocking up on the important emergency materials, you can ensure that they’ll be no panic or anxiety the next time the lights go out. 

The Ultimate Solar + Storage Blueprint (Mini Course)

Struggling to understand how solar + storage systems actually work? Looking to build or buy your own solar power system one day but not sure what you need? Just looking to learn more about solar, batteries and electricity?

Join 15,000+ solar enthusiasts breaking free from their energy dependence with this short step-by-step video course that will make you a solar + storage expert. Start your journey to energy independence today.

Learn More Now

Who is is the #1 digital platform that enables consumers & businesses to source and purchase complete solar + storage solutions direct, saving you thousands in time, energy and money! With over 40,000+ happy customers, we’re on a mission to make solar simple, transparent and affordable.

If you still have questions, don't hesitate to reach out or give us a call today at 877-242-2792.

Or continue reading our guide on the top 6 solar powered generators for emergency situations (click image below)

Shop Our Best-Selling Emergency Backup Solar Kits TODAY!

Find this blog helpful?Then consider checking DIY Solar Battery Backup, too. 

Article by

Cody Oehm

Cody is the Head of Marketing at Shop Solar, and joined the company in spring of 2022. 

He has an entrepreneurial background and has been in the ecommerce industry since 2015. With 4 businesses under his belt and a drive to make a bigger impact, he decided to team up with Shop Solar on their mission to make solar simple and affordable. You can browse best seller's here.

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